Melatonin is involved in the regulation of gastrointestinal motility and sensation.
Professor Ho and colleagues from Singapore determined the potential therapeutic effects of melatonin in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
The team randomized 17 female patients satisfying the Rome II criteria for IBS to either melatonin 3 mg nocte or identically appearing placebo 1 nocte.
The patients received the interventions for 8 weeks, followed by a 4-week washout period.
Thereafter, the patients received either placebo or melatonin in the reverse order for another 8 weeks.
The researchers used 3 validated questionnaires including the GI symptom, the sleep questionnaires and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale.
The research team used these to assess symptom severity and to compute the IBS, sleep and anxiety/depression scores.
|Improvements in mean IBS scores were greater after melatonin vs placebo|
|Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics|
Improvements in mean IBS scores were significantly greater after treatment with melatonin than with placebo.
The team defined percent response rate as percentage of subjects achieving mild-to-excellent improvement in IBS symptoms.
The research team noted that the percent response rate was greater in the melatonin-treated arm.
The changes in mean sleep, anxiety, and depression scores were similar with either melatonin or placebo treatment.
Professor Ho's team commented, “Melatonin is a promising therapeutic agent for IBS.”
“Its therapeutic effect is independent of its effects on sleep, anxiety or depression.”